KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia will begin their defence of the Poland International Junior invitational tournament against Germany on Aug 18.
The Malaysians, represented by the national junior side, have been placed in Group A along with Germany, Pakistan and the Polish Division 1 team Gniezno HC. Group B will see hosts Poland playing against India, Egypt and France.
The Malaysians won the tournament last year by beating the Germans in the final. They also defeated the Germans in the preliminary round as well.
The Malaysians are preparing for the Junior Asia Cup next year in Karachi, which will serve as the qualifiers for the 2005 World Cup. India and Pakistan will also be among the contenders in the Junior Asia Cup.
The Malaysians are undergoing centralised training and the final team for the tournament will be selected tomorrow.
Yesterday, two more players from the senior team were called up for training. They are forward Ismail Abu and midfielder P. Prabhakaran.
With the inclusion of the duo, the number of players in the training squad has risen to 29. Besides the two, the other players from the senior team who will likely make the cut for Poland are Azli Misron, Megat Azrafiq, Jivan Mohan and Mohamed Fairus Hamsani.
National juniors coach Sarjit Singh said that only two other junior players in the senior team have been left out of the tour. They are Azlan Misron and Riduan Nasir.
“But they played in the recent Champions Challenge. We want to expose as many of the players as possible. At the same time, we have decided to take some experienced players with us. That is why we have called up the two players. We will take 18 players to Poland,” he said.
Group B: India, Egypt, France, Poland.
Aug 18: India vs Egypt (10am), Malaysia vs Germany (12 noon), Pakistan vs Gniezno (4pm), Poland vs France (6pm).
Aug 19: Pakistan vs Malaysia (4pm), Germany vs Gniezno (6pm).
Aug 20: France vs India (4pm), Poland vs Egypt (6pm).
Aug 21: Germany vs Pakistan (10am), France vs Egypt (12 noon), Gniezno vs Malaysia (4pm), India vs Poland (6pm)
Aug 22: Rest day
Aug 23: Semi-finals
Aug 24: Final